Russia complains over Belarus's refusal to host air base

Almost Heaven

Well-Known Member
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday that Belarus’s refusal to host a military air base backed by President Vladimir Putin had been an “unpleasant episode”, a rare public display of disagreement between the close allies.

Russia and Belarus are members of a largely symbolic union state and are in talks to deepen their integration, but the air base spat illustrates the limitations of their alliance as Moscow’s ties with the West have plunged to post-Cold War lows.

Russia props up the Belarusian economy with cheap energy and loans, but Minsk is wary of allowing Russia too much influence, fearing that could eventually pose a threat to its sovereignty.

The Kremlin mounted a bid to set up the air base in Belarus in 2015 and hoped it would host Su-27 fighter jets, but the former Soviet republic, which serves as a buffer between Russia and NATO’s east European states, snubbed Moscow.

The plans to set up the base came as Moscow’s ties with the West were rapidly fraying over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, tit-for-tat sanctions and the war in Syria.


But Belarus said last year that it saw no need for a Russian air base, that such a deployment risked exacerbating regional tensions and that the situations in Ukraine and Syria were more deserving of attention.

“This really (was) an unpleasant episode,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said when asked about the snub in an interview with the Kommersant daily newspaper on Thursday.

“But content, not form is most important. And in terms of content, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said many times that ... Russia is a 100% ally,” Lavrov said.

Belarus and Russia are currently holding talks to expand their integration, a process that has fueled concern about a quiet annexation by Moscow.


Then-U.S. national security adviser John Bolton last month became the most senior U.S. official to travel to Belarus in years, a trip he said he wanted to use to warn Lukashenko of the security threat posed to Belarus by Russia.

Lukashenko has been at odds with the West over Belarus’s human rights record for years, but is known for playing Russia and the West off against each other in order to extract concessions.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...laruss-refusal-to-host-air-base-idUSKBN1WB1NT
 

Almost Heaven

Well-Known Member
Couple the above article with this one when John Bolton was in the Trump Administration This meeting with Bolton took place in the last week of August....My question is Putin preparing to take Belarus???


White House national security adviser John Bolton’s unexpected meeting with “the last dictator in Europe” could undermine a vital Russian alliance, with potentially high stakes for Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.


“It is extraordinary that Ambassador Bolton went to Belarus,” Heather Conley, director of the Europe Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s clearly a strong message to the Kremlin, that — as the Kremlin becomes more deeply involved in our neighborhood, whether that's Cuba or Venezuela — the U.S. will play a more assertive role in its neighboring countries.”

There’s no sharper way to make that point, in terms of symbolic meetings, than by making the first visit by a senior U.S. official to Minsk since 2001. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has kept close to Russia since 1994, using the partnership to maintain his own authoritarian control in the former Soviet satellite state.

“It kind of makes Russia unbalanced,” Luke Coffey, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Examiner. “It makes Russia unsteady on its feet that, all the sudden, Bolton shows up after 18 years.”

The United States and Belarus have had a bad relationship for years, reaching a nadir in 2008 when Lukashenko, angered by U.S. sanctions punishing his undemocratic elections and arrest of protesters, expelled 10 American diplomats. Trump’s administration extended those sanctions in 2019, including the restrictions targeting Lukashenko himself, but those measures didn’t stop Bolton from having an “unexpectedly” long meeting with the strongman on Thursday.

“We covered a lot of ground,” Bolton said, taking care to note that he spoke with Lukashenko for two hours and 15 minutes. “We didn't resolve any issues, certainly, I didn't come into the conversation with the expectation that we would, but I thought it was a fascinating conversation.”


Bolton’s visit derives additional significance from persistent rumors that Putin is interested in an official union with the former Soviet vassal state, an idea he didn’t hesitate to confront.

“It’s been the consistent policy of the United States since [the collapse of the Soviet Union] that we support the sovereignty and independence of the countries,” Bolton told reporters. “In the United States, we know where sovereignty lies. It lies in ‘We the people,' the first three words of our Constitution. And so, what the people of Belarus want really should determine what their relationship with Russia is.”

Those comments might seem like an anodyne invocation of the American system, but Putin’s government often complains about U.S. efforts “to promote democracy in Russia.” The Kremlin might be especially irritated that Bolton would do so in Belarus, given Putin’s tactic of playing up cultural and ethnic ties to maintain political influence in the former Soviet space.

“Belarus is a 'founding country' of the Russian world, or of the Eurasian project, if you will,” Valparaiso University’s Nicholas Denysenko, an expert in Moscow’s use of the Russian Orthodox Church as a geopolitical tool, told the Washington Examiner. “To be sure, even mild interest in the U.S. would be a blow to Putin, especially given the slow decline of approval for him in Russia itself.”

Putin might take the comments even more personally, given that a union with Belarus has been touted as a potential way to sidestep the term limits that would force him to leave the Kremlin after 2024 under the current Russian Constitution.


“Putin clearly understands what it means if he leaves power,” a Baltic diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Examiner. “People are waiting in line and are silently hoping to cut throats [of] each other because of how Russia went down as a country from a democratic country to a country of dictatorship.”

Of course, Lukashenko is no budding Democrat; he has a long history of trying to play Western powers and Russia against each other in order to preserve his own regime. But there are signs that Minsk feels real unease about the Kremlin’s intentions in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014.

“2014 was not just a defining moment for Ukraine, it sent a chilling message to Belarus, to Kazakhstan, to all the former Soviet republics that Russia does not acknowledge your sovereignty,” Conley said.

In March, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused a Russian diplomat of treating the country like a “federal district” rather than a sovereign nation. And Lukashenko announced in December that he would no longer refer to Russia as “a brother state” because "apparently new people have come, to whom this concept is unacceptable.”

That’s a pointed rebuff of Putin’s governing ideology. Weeks later, Lukashenko lifted the cap on the number of U.S. diplomats allowed in the country. Lukashenko’s relationship with the European Union is also improving, according to Coffey.

"You throw in the visit by Bolton and you start to see a trajectory,” the Heritage analyst said. “Admittedly, it's not a rapid trajectory, but there is one, in a certain direction."

Belarusian dissidents agree that Lukashenko feels vulnerable to Russia, but they cautioned against thinking he will ever be a true partner of the United States.

“You cannot use Lukashenko as a lesser evil against Putin because evil is evil,” Andrei Sannikov, a prominent opposition figure who now lives in exile, said in May.

Bolton acknowledged that there are “significant” obstacles to a partnership with Belarus, with Lukashenko’s human rights abuses not least among them.

“The geo-strategic environment in this part of Europe — and really considering global threats around the world — should at least cause us to have a conversation about where Belarus’s interests and the interests of the United States coincide,” he said. “We’re going to have to work through these other issues.”

And Putin will surely work to prevent Bolton from making too much progress in that direction, especially if the former KGB colonel concludes that Belarus offers the best chance to preserve his own place atop Russian politics.

“He's a prisoner of himself, of his own policies,” the Baltic diplomat said. “I think that he's afraid to leave the office.”



https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/...hn-boltons-belarus-trip-stirs-threat-to-putin
 

athenasius

Well-Known Member
Couple the above article with this one when John Bolton was in the Trump Administration This meeting with Bolton took place in the last week of August....My question is Putin preparing to take Belarus???
Answer YES.

This next bit is sounding like Russia HAS quietly taken over.
Belarus and Russia are currently holding talks to expand their integration, a process that has fueled concern about a quiet annexation by Moscow.
I think Lukashenko was playing his cards in a message to Putin that he had options by showing that Bolton had visited him.

Lukashenko has been at odds with the West over Belarus’s human rights record for years, but is known for playing Russia and the West off against each other in order to extract concessions.
All Lukashenko is up to, is getting the best deal he can.

And Putin wants Belarus back. it's between him and the Baltics, which escaped Soviet control at the fall of the Soviet Empire.

And Belarus would help him threaten the UKRAINE which is just below Belarus.
 
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athenasius

Well-Known Member
“Belarus is a 'founding country' of the Russian world, or of the Eurasian project, if you will,” Valparaiso University’s Nicholas Denysenko, an expert in Moscow’s use of the Russian Orthodox Church as a geopolitical tool, told the Washington Examiner. “To be sure, even mild interest in the U.S. would be a blow to Putin, especially given the slow decline of approval for him in Russia itself.”
That aspect CANNOT be underestimated. Putin sees himself as the saviour of Russia, but most especially of the RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH within Russia. He portrays himself as a loyal Russian but more important is how he uses his Russian Orthodox religious views and how he drapes himself in the Tsarist symbols.

He is trying to bring back the glory days of Russian imperialism under the Tsars.

And this wouldn't be the first time the Russian KGB apparatus has used the Russian Orthodox church as a disguise to infiltrate other countries. Belarus is probably under pressure from the priests loyal to the Moscow Patriarch to encourage the parishioners to consider folding back into "Mother Russia".
 

ItIsFinished!

Blood bought child of the King of kings.
That aspect CANNOT be underestimated. Putin sees himself as the saviour of Russia, but most especially of the RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH within Russia. He portrays himself as a loyal Russian but more important is how he uses his Russian Orthodox religious views and how he drapes himself in the Tsarist symbols.

He is trying to bring back the glory days of Russian imperialism under the Tsars.

And this wouldn't be the first time the Russian KGB apparatus has used the Russian Orthodox church as a disguise to infiltrate other countries. Belarus is probably under pressure from the priests loyal to the Moscow Patriarch to encourage the parishioners to consider folding back into "Mother Russia".
Great insight.
Anything in regards to Russia, I always look to see what you have to say.
You are very educated in this area (as many other areas) so I look forward to your input.
The Lord is definitely using you .
Continue to let Him and carry on my friend.
;)
Much love in Christ sister.
 
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